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Reviews > Navigation and Map Gear > Compasses > SUUNTO MC-2 Mirror Compass > Owner Review by Marina Batzke

April 21, 2014


NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) hotmail (dot) com
AGE: 55
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in spring 2013. Since then, I have selectively purchased new, more lightweight gear, while I still carry some heavier gear from my car camping trips. I always hike with a group and I like the gear talk when in camp. I am a tent camper looking for ways to lighten my pack. My backpacking trips are currently weekend excursions in Southern California, USA. If my business travel allows me to get away, I try to backpack one or two weekends a month.


Manufacturer: SUUNTO OY
Made in Finland
Year of Purchase: 2014
Manufacturer's Website:
Model Ref.: SS004239001
Model No.: MC-2/360/IN/D/L/NH
NH means my Mirror Compass is balanced for the Northern Hemisphere.
(SUUNTO offers 3 different MC-2 models with slightly different features)
MSRP: US $55.95
Listed Weight: 2.65 oz (75 g)
Measured Weight: 2.6 oz (75 g)
Listed Dimensions: 2.56 in x 3.98 in x 0.71 in (65 mm x 101 mm x 18 mm)
Measured Dimensions closed Compass: 2.56 in wide x 4 in long x 0.62 in deep (65 mm x 102 mm x 16 mm)
It is a small, handy Compass

Warranty Information: Suunto gives a Limited Lifetime Warranty for this field compass, yet the all-important baseplate and capsule are limited to two years only.


Location: Santiago Peak, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 1 day: February 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night: February 2014

Location: Icehouse Canyon Saddle, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 1 day: March 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night: March 2014

Location: Inyo National Forest, SW of Bishop, California, USA
Trip duration: 3 days/ 2 nights: March 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night: April 2014

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night: April 2014


I bought the SUUNTO MC-2 Mirror Compass for the Sierra Club Wilderness Training Course I took in the Spring of 2014. Learning how to use a compass to find my way with a map and compass in the backcountry was part of our class requirements (and a challenging assignment).
The clear outer plastic packing unit contained: the Suunto MC-2, a red lanyard with wristlock, a declination adjustment key, a black plastic quick release and the manual.
The Packing Unit

My SUUNTO MC-2 is a professional-grade mirror compass that allows me to take precise directional measurements. Its technical features include:
- a large mirror inside the black hinged mirror cover
- a sighting V-notch above the mirror with a glow-in-the-dark line
- a sighting line going from that notch down the middle of the mirror to a smaller V-notch and glow line on the hinge itself
- a transparent base plate with a small round magnifying lens (0.63 in = 16 mm diameter)
- a cm scale on the base plate's left long side and an inch scale on its right long side
- an 0.7 mile distance scale based on a 1:24000 map scale
- an adjustable declination correction scale
- a 2-color (glow-in-the-dark + black) bezel ring with the directions and degrees imprinted
- the compass needle in a liquid filled center capsule with red meridian lines behind
- a clinometer to measure the angle of a slope
- balanced compass needle (keeps the compass needle balanced inside the capsule; allowing a tilt up to 20 degrees while still giving me an accurate needle reading)

Sprocket and Declination Key on Backside of Compass

On the bottom side of the baseplate is a small screw (sprocket) that I turn to set the proper declination of the location that I plan to hike in. I use the declination adjustment key (like a miniature "screw driver") that came attached to the red lanyard.
The red lanyard attaches to the base plate with a black plastic detachable snap-lock. SUUNTO claims there is also a Wristlock in the lanyard but I found no instructions anywhere on how to "work" that so-called Wristlock. I added a second (blue) lanyard to their red one which allows me to hang the blue lanyard around my neck and still have plenty of reach to take a bearing in the field holding up the mirror compass at my arm's length.
Using the Clinometer Scale

The scale of declination also allows me to measure (a) the angle of gradient and (b) the height of an object, using the clinometer indicator (free-swinging black pointer inside the liquid capsule) on the scale.
Plotting a bearing on the map

When I place the MC-2 on the map, three anti-slip dots on the bottom of the baseplate help keep the compass in place on the map.
Taking a bearing in the field

When I take a bearing in the field, it is helpful that SUUNTO's balanced needle allows for a bit of a tilt without the needle getting stuck, which allows me to stretch out my arm and still get a correct reading.

I have used the MC-2 in daytime temperatures ranging from 43 F to 93 F (6 C - 34 C).

The MC-2 compass manual is in English, French, Finnish, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish and Japanese language with predominantly text and seven drawings. While their German text has a number of grammatical errors and may not read all that fluently, it helped me understand the technical terms better whenever I struggled with the English language instructions of the manual. I feel due to the difficulty of the topic, this short vendor manual cannot teach me how to properly use a compass. What really taught me was the guidance by our class instructors in the field and practice along with the proper map whenever out hiking.


Overall, the SUUNTO MC-2 Mirror Compass is easy to use. It has a ton of helpful features handy on this small sized compass. It is all right there at my fingertips. The hard part was learning how to use a compass and map in the field.


Durable, tough (has well withstood dusty desert conditions so far)
A lot of helpful data on the base plate
Lots of important features on just a few square inches
Nifty little declination adjustment key


How do I work that so-called "wristlock"?
Mirror needs to be cleaned carefully to avoid scratches
Rather short manual
German manual text has quite a number of grammatical errors



This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Navigation and Map Gear > Compasses > SUUNTO MC-2 Mirror Compass > Owner Review by Marina Batzke

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